Background Information

There is a creek that runs between Woodbridge, Middlesex County NJ near St. Gertrude Cemetery and eventually flows into the South Branch Rahway River in Rahway, Union County NJ.

Map of the creek which starts near St. Gertrude Cemetary in Woodbridge, NJ on the city/county line until the end which flows into the South Branch Rahway River in Rahway, NJ.

This creek was built or renovated between 1929 and the 1950’s according to plaques found near the underpasses. Since then, the City of Rahway has not performed any maintenance on the creek according to Rahway DPW Director Mike Smalling. When walking the stretch of the creek, nothing but sediment build up, debris, tree branches, and trash can be found. Retaining walls throughout the creek are inconsistent and have collapsed in many areas. The creek is not a consistent width, going from wide to narrow to wide. See the photos of the creek here.

The result is massive creek overflowing when we are hit with consistent rain flow. I purchased my home on Lentz Ct in Rahway, NJ in 2015. Since moving in, the creek has not overflown into the street until recently. Two overflow instances hit back to back on July 22, 2019 and August 7, 2019. See the videos of the creek overflow event on July 22, 2019 here.

The City of Rahway’s Position

According to The City of Rahway “The City of Rahway consists of 75 road miles in the 4.1 square miles which is maintained by the Public Works Department which includes repairing sanitary and storm sewers, 1037 catch basics, snow and ice control and removal, pothole repair, street signs and traffic signals, drainage and cleaning of brooks, creeks and culverts along with flood control and levee maintenance.”

City of Rahway Department of Public Works page, as retrieved on August 14, 2019.

This statement assures prospective homeowner’s that the city waterways are well maintained and cared for by the municipal government. However, even after emailing the mayor and city council; along with giving a personal speech to the Rahway City Council, I was told by Jacqueline Foushee, the Rahway City Engineer, and Mike Smalling, Director of Public Works that the drainage and clearing of brooks, creeks, and culverts are the responsibility of homeowners. I was also told the city’s attorneys are looking into it. As of now, I have little hope that the city will fulfill their self declared responsibilities.

Many people, myself included, purchased their homes knowing the city would maintain the waterways. They are now claiming they are not responsible and leaving the entire length of the creek in a disastrous state, putting countless homes and lives in danger.